This Small Container for a Lot of Stuff

Don't Cry "I remember when my father died...He didn't die quickly. I was with him and it lasted a few weeks. I was so astonished at the levels of feeling that I discovered in myself which I really wasn't aware of. It almost began to seem to me like people were like cans almost, that a lot substance was sort of squished into. That the form of our personalities and characters is sort of like this small container for a lot of stuff and it has to be compressed into this small thing and we can only be aware of what's on the surface at any given time. But then something like that happens, something that kind of forces the container to break a bit, a deep life-altering event, and suddenly all these feelings come to the surface that you weren't aware that you had. And because of having that experience and also other things -- it wasn't just my father's death, there've been other things that are complex to explain -- but just becoming aware of all the different layers in myself and in other people. Because once you see that in yourself, you begin to be aware of it in other people."

~ Mary Gaitskill, discussing her new collection of short stories, Don’t Cry, with Michael Silverblatt on KCRW’s Bookworm